65 million people in the EU speak the flamboyant Italian language, registering Italian in podium position as the third most widely spoken language in the region. It is recognized as an official language not only in its homeland, but also in San Marino, Switzerland, the Vatican City and Istria, a peninsula in the Adriatic Sea shared with Slovenia and Croatia. Italian has historical significance in a multitude of additional regions including Monaco, Malta and Albania. While the language no longer enjoys official status in these constituents, it is still widely communicated.
Large expatriate communities throughout the world continue to build on the legacy of the Italian vocalization. Three are over a million native Italian speakers in the USA (from a pool of 17 million descendants), and in Canada and Australia Italian is second only to Chinese as the most widely spoken non-official language with 660,000 people and 1.4% of the population respectively.
Italian continues to be prevalent in teachings throughout Europe and the world. A second language to in excess of 14 million in Europe, various language experts have listed it as the fourth most popular second tongue taught in worldwide curricula.
With close ties to the ancient Latin language, Italian is one of several European ‘Romance’ languages. Italian sustains strong ties to the Catholic hierarchy, as a bridge language for the jurisdiction of the Catholic church in Rome. The Italian language has been highly influential in music terminology and the discipline of Opera singing, and is prominent in the arts and markets relating to luxury goods.
Italy remains one of the largest exporters in the world (8th in 2015) delivering in excess of $500 billion in exports worldwide. As a founding member of the EU, Italy trades heavily with EU partners Germany, France, the UK, Switzerland and Spain, as well as to the United states with approximately 7% of trade into this market.
Over the last 60 years Italy, currently the fourth largest national economy in Europe, has transformed from an agricultural focus to an advanced industrialized economy and world heavyweight in trade and exports. Italy possesses a strong manufacturing arm (the second largest in Europe), and has particular expertise in automobile, appliances and fashion design, while remaining competitive agriculturally - primarily as the world’s largest wine producer.
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